Protests erupt in Sri Lanka against Donald Trump

A small, but vociferous group on Friday staged a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka on the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. President, officials said.


Carrying placards and chanting slogans, the protestors denounced Trump’s comments on various issues including the environment, war and immigrants and claimed they could have an impact on Sri Lanka.


“We are showing our solidarity with all the people throughout the world who are taking part in protests against president-elect Trump,’’ Siritunga Jayasuriya, leader of the United Socialist Party, said.


No fewer than 100 people from political parties, civil rights and labour organisations protested for more than an hour as police stepped up security outside the embassy in Colombo.


However, there were others who welcomed Trump, with one of the Buddhist organisations placing a full-page newspaper advertisement wishing him long life.

Charlie Hebdo: “One Cannot Make Fun of Faith”- Pope

There are limits to freedom of expression when religion is insulted, Pope Francis has said in reference to the cartoons in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. However, he also pointed out that killing in God’s name is an “absurdity.” Pope Francis spoke to reporters on a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines.

Answering questions on the Paris attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, he said that freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but it should be exercised“without giving offense,” the Catholic News Service reports.

One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” Francis said, adding that every religion “has its dignity.” The Pope said that one can react violently when being offended. He offered an example, referring to his trip planner saying that if his “great friend says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal.

However he added that “one cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

In the wake of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices over its Prophet Muhammad caricatures, the satirical magazine published a record 3 million copies of its new edition Wednesday. The latest cover depicted the Prophet crying. Pope Francis was among other figures caricatured in the magazine.

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Violence Escalates Ahead of Polls

Campaign-related violence escalated across Sri Lanka ahead of next week’s elections as President Mahinda Rajapakse fights an unexpectedly tough battle to remain in power, poll monitors and police said Saturday.

The private Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) monitoring group said it had received 1,073 complaints since campaigning got underway in early December.

Police said they had received a much smaller number of complaints, but that 130 arrests had been made.

A deputy minister and 13 other elected representatives are among those who have been arrested in connection with 245 complaints of violence, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

CaFFE said the increasing violence was well organised and target the opposition, which is mounting a serious challenge against two-term incumbent Rajapakse.

“We are seeing a trend of increasing violence,” CaFFE director Keerthi Tennakoon said. “The violence is well organised. It is almost always directed against the opposition’s campaign.”

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